Press Release – Project REEScue

Friday, 29 January 2021

Place: Tulcea – Romania



The REEScue project, under ERANET-ERAMIN 3- REEScue: Integrated process for the recovery of Rare Earth Elements and Scandium from Bauxite Residues is launched.

On the 1st of October 2020, the coordinator, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), in cooperation with its academic partner Necmettin Erbakan Üniversitesi (Turkey) and three industrial partners: Mytilineos SA (Greece), ALUM SA (Romania), ETI Aluminyum A.S. (Turkey), across three countries, launched the 36 months REEScue project (

The aim of the REEScue project is to secure the supply of European Union in Critical Raw Materials and contribute to building a sustainable future and a circular economy, with waste valorization and extraction of metal values from secondary sources, such as landfilled or industrially produced bauxite residues.

Bauxite residue (BR) is the by-product of the Bayer process for alumina production contains considerable amounts of Rare Earth Elements (REEs), Scandium and other refractory metals.  REE are considered Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) and European Union has included them in a priority list for their exploitation from indigenous resources.

Bauxite Residue is rich in REEs including Lanthanum (La), Cerium (Ce), Neodymium (Nd), Ytrium (Y) and especially in Scandium (Sc).

The project offers a feasible approach to selectively recover rare earth elements (REEs) and Scandium from BR through mineral acid leaching of the BR and sequential solvent extraction of the dissolved iron and scandium from the leachate. The leaching technology, as well as the iron and REE recovery, addresses all the drawbacks of currently available approaches including: control of iron concentration in the leachate, increased silica dissolution and the formation of silica gel and production of leachates with low REE and Sc concentration.

This process is a promising technique as the first step of a potential near-zero-waste integrated process for the sustainable valorization of bauxite residue.


The  REEScue project is supported by grants of the:


  • General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) from Greece for National Technical University of Athens NTUA and Mytilineos SA


  • Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) for Necmettin Erbakan Üniversitesi and ETI Aluminyum A.S.


  • Executive Unit for the Financing of Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI) from Romania for ALUM



Prof. IOANNIS PASPALIARIS – Project Coordinator

Address: School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering Iroon Polytechniou 9 str., GR15773 Zografou Campus, Athens, Greece